Let My People Think

hands-in-chains

Persecution and harm resulting from persecution aren’t the same thing.

Let’s consider a question that might be asked in the following format (which is fairly typical for this sort of question):

If you are a Christian in a work camp in North Korea and you read the protection scriptures it might seem that they are not true.

Here’s an analogous question:

If you are a Christian hospitalized with a life-threatening desease and you read the healing scriptures it might seem that they are not true.

The way the question is being asked is loaded. There are plenty of committed, sincere, hard-working Christians that found themselves in either situation. The danger of engaging with a question like the one posed above is the following. When you assert biblical truths of protection / healing / provision and the need for faith in those truths on our part, in response to a hypothetical question like that, the counter-argument then becomes “So, are you saying that so-and-so didn’t have faith?”. If so-and-so is a committed, sincere, hard-working Christian (individually, or a class of such people), your response, although being correct, falls flat on its face as you are made to look like you are being condescending or even condemning to a specific person / group of people, and you would sound like you are saying that they are unbelieving in general. So it takes some wisdom to answer a question like this correctly.

With that said, any time we compare what’s on earth with what’s in heaven, one of those two will inevitably seem more true than the other. Whatever we will set our minds on (or let ourselves be persuaded by), that’s what will dominate our lives. The word of God trumps individual experiences every time. Be it persecution in North Korea, poverty in Africa, or sufferings of an HIV patient. Jesus paid for and provided for answers to all of those, and then some.

Persecution will happen, but we are promised protection from physical and other harm that we can realize in our lives if we stand on God’s promises of protection.

Epidemics will happen in this world, but we are promised divine health that we can realize in our lives if we stand on God’s promises of healing.

Poverty occurs in this world all the time, but we are promised divine abundance that we can realize in our lives if we stand on God’s promises of provision.

Those promises can be appropriated individually, or collectively. For instance, if an entire community (local body of believers, city population, country population, etc.) chooses to make a stand on God’s word, all of the above can be eradicated. Case in point: deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Not one of them came out of Egypt sick or feeble, they came out with Egypt’s riches, and persecution was wiped away quite decisively. All of that in a very short period of time, given the scope of the situation. We have the same God, and even better promises.

I know that old story might sound like a fantasy today. So do a lot of other things. Until someone takes God on his word and starts to live it out. And that “someone” can be you!

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